The NFL Playoffs are upon us. Let’s break down the quarterback position for Wild Card on DraftKings.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
Given that there are just four games this weekend, this preview will be short and sweet. I did want to touch on some strategy, though, given the unique nature of Wild Card weekend.
Normally, I tend to go pretty “chalky” at quarterback and running back because they are the most consistent positions. Running backs thrive on workload and quarterbacks tend to play as we predict more often than any other position. That consistency is valuable.
And you definitely want to continue to pay for that consistency in cash games. In tournaments, though, I think you need to act in a pretty contrarian manner at every position. That doesn’t mean you can’t roster any players you think will be high-owned, but with ownership levels on certain players sure to be through the roof during a four-game slate—especially at quarterback with only eight options—it makes sense to emphasize finding low ownership more than you might otherwise.
Cream of the Crop
Kirk Cousins, Washington (vs GB) – $5900
Cousins has been absolutely on fire of late, scoring at least 19 points for a month straight. It’s actually 25 points or more except for last week, when he tossed the ball just 15 times and scored more than one point per pass. My concern with Cousins to start the year was a lack of “stackability,” but there’s no issue now with Jordan Reed’s emergence. The Packers have allowed 4.2 points per game above expected to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (at WAS) – $6400
I’ve never really given up hope on Rodgers. The loss of Jordy Nelson clearly affected his fantasy upside, but this is still a player who has the ability to put up 369 yards and four touchdowns against the Panthers. No matter your view on Rodgers, you have to like the price. His salary has dropped $1,000 since just three weeks ago, which is a very steep decline. Players with that sort of salary movement have historically offered a ton of value on DraftKings. Of all the matchups this week, I think this has the best chance to turn into a shootout.
Middle of the Pack
AJ McCarron, Cincinnati (vs PIT) – $5200
From a game flow perspective, GB-WAS and this contest interest me the most; I just think there’s a far greater likelihood of those games turning into a shootout than SEA-MIN or KC-HOU. Big Ben is of course in play, but I don’t really love him all that much on the road against a quality pass defense at his cost. I still think he has a ton of upside because of his weapons, but—and call me crazy—I think I prefer McCarron as a value; he’s been decently efficient this year and I think he’s going to have to air the ball out in this game. The Steelers have allowed 5.0 points per game above expectation to opposing quarterbacks—the worst mark of any defense in this slate.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (at CIN) – $7200
Roethlisberger is listed here just because he probably has a higher ceiling than any quarterback playing this weekend. I’ll likely have less exposure than the field, but that’s only because I can’t live with myself if Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown don’t cripple my psyche on a weekly basis. The Steelers do have the highest projected total of the week at 24.5 points, but that’s just a tad higher than Washington, Green Bay, and Cincy.
Rest of the Field
Russell Wilson, Seattle (at MIN) – $7000
I much prefer Big Ben to Wilson in this salary range. I think this is going to be a very slow-paced game. Wilson obviously accounts for a huge percentage of Seattle’s fantasy scoring, but I don’t see a lot of upside relative to the cost. It’s worth noting that Minnesota has allowed 1.0 point per game below expected to opposing quarterbacks this season, which is the top mark among any defense playing this weekend.
Brian Hoyer, Houston (vs KC) – $5400
I’m not a big Hoyer fan. I think there’s a lack of upside here, and even though the price is attractive, I don’t even think Hoyer is a great value against the Chiefs. The stack is obvious with DeAndre Hopkins—and the Chiefs do struggle like crazy on the outside—but you have to think they’re going to game plan to take Hopkins out of the game as much as possible.
Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series, and most recently Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports.
Follow him @BalesFootball.